The Best Job Hunting Tips of the Year

Some of the best news to come out of 2012 was that the economy had improved and that more jobs were being created. More openings meant more job search tips — and within the year, a new LinkedIn format, new ways of looking at cover letters, and more all made it onto our list of things to keep on our radar. The job hunt may have its ups and downs, but with a positive attitude (see slide nine) and the help of these tips, you'll soon be able to kiss the search goodbye.

RELATED: 25 Best Life Hacks of 2012

Write a Standout Email

On top of having to perfect résumés and cover letters, we sometimes forget that there's an accompanying email that also makes an impression. One Google recruiter has some great advice about writing the ideal introduction note. A couple of tips? Being specific in the email subject line and keeping it short and sweet.

Make the Most of LinkedIn

The professional network recently got a makeover, so it's even more important to make sure you're taking advantage of all of LinkedIn's features. Share updates and articles, get a more in-depth look at your network, see how people are finding you, and more.

Avoid Job-Hunting Sins

Sure, there are obvious job hunting sins no one should make, like sending off an unpolished résumé, but there are also less apparent ones — getting attached to a position, leading an unfocused search — that are important to address, too.

Have a Productive Weekend

Whether you're currently employed and looking for a new gig or you have other priorities during the week, there are certain job hunting strategies best saved for the weekend. Next time Saturday rolls around, seize opportunities like meeting with a professional contact who doesn't have time during the week, shop for a suit, or plan the week ahead.

Use Google Doc Templates

If there's a tool out there to help make the job search easier, you should at least try it once. One of the most effective and cheapest (read: free) ones for organizing your job search is Google Doc Templates. Use them to download relevant templates like Networking Tracker and customize them based on your applications.

Prevent Résumé Red Flags

Spelling mistakes and other typos aren't the only top résumé mistakes a job seeker can make. Including irrelevant info, being vague about your achievements, or listing a tacky email are just a few of the others to avoid.

Take Advantage of Social Media

By now we know how important personal networking is, but because of its nature, we don't always consider social networking a powerful tool in the job hunt. But it really is — recruiters use it to scout potential hires and you will do yourself a big favor if you stand out on your account by being creative and active (but not overdoing it) and following other essential tips.

Stay Upbeat

A job hunt can be a draining processes, but no matter how things play out (hey, rejections happen to the best of us), it's incredibly important to find ways keep a positive attitude through it all. While that might be easier said than done, studies have shown that staying positive ensures a better chance of scoring a gig and people who stayed upbeat during their hunt found jobs after four months.

Master the Cover Letter

You can never hear too many tips for writing the perfect cover letter — it's just as a much of make-or-break factor as your résumé. A couple of things to keep in mind: focus on the company, not yourself, and tweak your tone for every application. And while you're at it, get familiar with cover letter mistakes to avoid.

Ask for a Personal Job Referral

If you happen to know someone at a company where your ideal position has just popped up — great! But that doesn't mean you can just tell your friend about your interest and things will magically come together. There are still dos and don't for asking for a personal job referral that can make a big difference.

Practice Job Interview Questions

Whether you have an interview lined up or you're still waiting for one, there's plenty of use in practicing your answers to the most common job questions. From "Why do you want to work for us?" to "What is your biggest weakness?", be well prepared, and you'll be 10 steps ahead of the game.


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